6 ASCAP Members on the Score That Made Them Want to Compose

Josh Kelley ASCAP - P 2013
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Josh Kelley ASCAP - P 2013

As the industry prepares for the Film & TV Music Awards, "The Lone Ranger's" Hanz Zimmer, "The Tempest's" Elliot Goldenthal and others share the screen music that changed them forever.

This story first appeared in the June 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

On June 20, Hollywood's composers and songwriters will meet at the 28th annual ASCAP Film & TV Music Awards, honoring the music from 2012's biggest films, TV and video games. The Beverly Hilton ceremony will include the presentation of the Henry Mancini Award to Brave scorer Patrick Doyle, whose upcoming projects include Jack Ryan with Chris Pine and Cinderella with Cate Blanchett. To mark the occasion, THR asked six composing greats to name the score that inspired them or helped launch their careers.


Frida, The Tempest

A theater piece called Juan Darién was a seminal experience because it attracted two ends of the spectrum in my musical development. It introduced me to a lot of people in the film world that eventually hired me -- including Gus Van Sant for Drugstore Cowboy -- and it led me to many, many, many other projects in the classical world.

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Inception, The Lone Ranger

The score that set my mind to composing as a kid was watching Once Upon a Time in the West and hearing Ennio Morricone. That was it. For The Lone Ranger, [director] Gore Verbinski sort of let me write a Western score, and I mean, who doesn't want to do a Western?


Rapture-Palooza, Sweet Little Lies

Catch Me If You Can by John Williams. Even though that's certainly not the first score I heard, it's a perfect score in my opinion. It captures the film so well, and it has a lightness and a fluidity to it that is absolutely unique -- the way he sticks to a story but also gives a dimension to this character who's totally disturbed and rebelling in such an over-the-top way.


Lucky Number Slevin, The Cove

Indiana Jones, of course, and Jaws. They left an indelible mark. With those kind of scores, you really left the movie singing the theme, almost as you would a concert. Every time I hear that music, it takes me right back to being a kid and wanting to create something like that.

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The Eagle, The Mortal Instruments

The score that made me want to be a film composer was the Morricone score to the Italian film Cinema Paradiso. It's the first time I walked out of a movie and the music stood out just as much as the film, on equal footing with it.


Wreck-It Ralph, Turbo

I went to a very strict English boarding school that had all sorts of rules and regulations. I remember at age 14, sneaking down to the senior boys room and stealing the VCR so us junior boys could nick the VHS of Predator. ... Halfway through, I said, "Wait a minute, this music's really sophisticated. I don't see why I shouldn't be studying this in the same way we study Brahms or Mahler. This isn't put together by a monkey, this is some serious shit." I said, "Let the end credits come!" and I saw this name: Alan Silvestri. I remember going to the piano the next morning and fiddling around, saying to myself, "What the hell were those chords again?"